I have been writing my blog now for over the past two years and they have recorded my journey so far, my ups and downs, my worries and my fears. Cancer is part of my life, and I have embraced it as my new ‘best’ friend.
We have all started 2021 in lockdown, with the news being consumed by Covid-19, statistics, vaccination information and everything that the pandemic is bringing and has brung. And it looks like there is finally light at the end of the tunnel! So how are you? How do you feel? Not about me, or reading my story but about yourself? We so often don’t give time to ourselves, to allow ourselves time to do something for us, always making excuses about how busy we are, how much the family needs us, all the jobs we need to do etc. Lockdown has put an incredible stress on all of us and this lockdown has been particularly difficult with the darker nights, darker mornings, home schooling, isolation, shielding, not being able to see family and friends and not being able to get out due to the weather. God – how depressing!! But sometimes we are so busy looking out for everyone else we forget that our mental health and wellbeing is just as important – if not more so. It is not selfish in taking some time out and this is something that I don’t do, in fact I am not really sure if I know how to put myself first!!
During the past few weeks I have had my regular scans to see how things are! Unfortunately there is a tumour in my liver that isnt behaving the way it should be and so I am having a treatment change this coming week and they are reintroducing oral chemo tablets – how I have missed my old friend! – Not!! Also my MRI showed up two new wee tumours at the back of my brain. They are treatable and so I am having Gamma Knife treatment on Thursday. Back into the wooden cage so I cannot move my head at all as they are so wee there is no room for any movement or they might miss them! But at long at it does it’s job that’s all that matters.
Since my liver hasn’t been behaving I have been thinking about what else I can do to put as little additional strain on it as possible. You all know that I have changed my diet, and cut out alcohol, dairy, meat and still trying to cut out sugar! Sugar is one of the biggest no nos as cancer cells love sugar so this is one sure way of starving them one source of fuel. I never used to have a sweet tooth until my last lot of chemo in 2017. Now if I was in a restaurant I would look at the dessert menu first!! So why is it that now I am trying to not eat sweet stuff it is all that I want?!! I spoke to a nutritionist and she said that when you are stressed your body’s digestive system stops working properly as does your immune system. As I told her everything that has been going on lately she said that I am very ‘stressed’ and this will put a lot of strain on my liver. So in some ways my cancer is helping me in how I think about things and the need to put myself first and the importance of being less stressed. I can recognise this and acknowledge it. It’s a bit of an extreme way to learn something but the body is an amazing machine and I am finding out more about it all the time and how to try and support it in the best way. People react very differently to cancer but I am trying to embrace it, work with it and learn from it – but I still intend to kick its ass!!
So putting yourself first could be something so simple as giving yourself a bit of time to do something that you enjoy – go for a walk and appreciate the things around you, a run, reading, knitting, cooking, meditate, even a bath, infact anything that gives you some ‘out’ time. I have been doing mindfulness which is really helpful and yoga – but I dont do it every day and I make excuses that I cant even find 5 or 10 minutes. It is creating the habit – it needs only be a few minutes – its a start. I went for a walk on my own last week by Whale Wharf by the Severn and it was beautiful. I had been struggling with my new news and things going on around me so I shouted into the wind, spoke to mummy out loud and had a fabulous chat with my sister on the phone, all whilst sitting on a log! It was so very peaceful and quiet and it was here that I realised I don’t actually know how to put myself first. This is something that I will have to teach myself, without withdrawing in to myself or giving the impression that I am ignoring the situation around me, or that I don’t care! (which is what I think I am doing at the moment!). We all know what we should do – but we actually need to do it.
Today is Mothers Day and I am missing my own mum more than ever. As is everyone who has lost their mum this year, last year – any year. The girls have bought me a beautiful bracelet and are busy preparing an amazing lunch time afternoon tea. Neil ordered me some beautiful flowers and they are not from Tesco!!
Have a lovely day with your families and appreciate every moment. Embrace the good and the bad. Take care and look after one another. God Bless. xxxx
One thought on “How are YOU?…”
This is such an amazing read Ali and I just don’t know how you find the words explaining your Journey. I am also a Cancer survivor but I would never have been able to explain my feelings especially in a way to help others going through this time! I have a job to write this comment!! So I really Thank You for writing this blog and wish you all the Luck in The World for the next Chapter xxxx